12/22/14, Grateful

Hi Everyone,

I was packing up my briefcase today before I travel, and remembered a little book I used to carry in my briefcase, and put away a few years ago. It was about Gratitude, and I loved the stories in it, it was by Melody Beatie, I think. I don’t mean to sound like Goody Two Shoes with my messages to you, but I figure that we’re all in this together, and not every day is easy, in fact some days are damn hard, for any of us. And if I can encourage or inspire you to see things differently sometimes, I figure it’s a fair trade, because when I read your messages to me, you so often warm my heart and encourage and inspire me. I love the messages you write me. Thank you!!

There were several stories in the book, but there was one that particularly resonated for me, which is why I dragged it around with me until the book became dog eared, and then put it in my bookcase so it didn’t fall apart. The story I loved was about a house she had bought years before, possibly her first house, and it was the only one she could afford. It was in a bad neighborhood, the house was in bad shape, a major fixer-upper, and as she put it, it was just plain ugly and even once she bought it, she found she hated the house. She tried to do a few things to doll it up, and finally gave up on any kind of improvements, and decided that making the house beautiful was hopeless. So instead of working on it, she just sat there and cried every night, hating the house more and more. And she couldn’t afford to buy a better one, or move, or spend much money to improve it. She said she cried for months, and was totally miserable there. I don’t know what turned things around, but sometimes after you’re miserable enough, something changes or clicks in, and you decide to try and accomplish the impossible anyway. Crying every night is wearing. So she tried to do one thing to improve it. The result wasn’t fabulous, but she said it looked a little better. It was some very small improvement, like pretty clean shelf paper in the kitchen. So encouraged by that, she did one more small thing. And then another, and then she bought some paint and painted something ugly into a better color. And inspired by the minor changes, she did more, and more. She made a lot of small changes, and she didn’t turn the place into a palace, or even a gorgeous house, but she said that as she worked on these small projects every night, instead of crying, she started to love the place, even as ugly as it was. And after months of small changes, she actually loved the house. And the overall look of the place had improved—-the house hadn’t moved to a better neighbourhood, it wasn’t gorgeous, but it suddenly felt like a home, her home, and she really began to love it. And once she loved it, and had tried to make it better, something happened in her life, a series of fortuitous circumstances, and she was able to move to a better house, and she was actually sad to leave the house she had come to love. And the new house was a huge improvement in her life.

I liked the story because it reminded me that sometimes you have to embrace a circumstance you really don’t like, or even hate. The more you complain or try to run away from it, the worse it seems to get. And only when you’re willing to embrace a situation, in all its misery and ugliness does something actually change. How many times have we had jobs we really hate, with a nasty boss or co-workers, or an apartment in a building, or a home with neighbours who make your life miserable? Or a family situation you think you just can’t change. And believe me, I can complain with the best of them when I’m not happy about something. And I’m not always a good sport about it!!! But only when I stop bitching about it, and wailing, accept my fate as it is at that moment, and really accept it and try to improve it right where I am….only then does the situation actually improve, and someone mean gets nicer, or an opportunity comes along that allows me to make a change. Her point with the story was that only when she got truly grateful for the ugly house, and love it, and work on it, did a better house come along. It was a good reminder to me that sometimes we have to embrace situations we don’t like, and do our best to change them right where we are, before things actually change. And then suddenly the blessings are abundant, and things turn out much better than we hope.

The story applies to a lot of things, where we live, where we work, who we hang out with, family battles, or even the holiday plans we’re faced with that are not the ones we want. So I’m sharing the story with you, because I really like the story of the ugly house she came to love….and then she got a better one.

It’s a good reminder to me to embrace the situations I don’t like, and be grateful for what I do have. I have a feeling that she’s right, and things don’t change until we learn to love what we’ve got, and the situation we’re in. It’s something to think about.

And as we head into these last few days before the holidays, my wish and prayer for you is that these days are gentle and easy, as much as merry and bright!!! May all your Christmas wishes come true, and may you be surrounded by those you love, and I hope they are kind to you. And I hope you bring the light and warmth of the holidays to someone else’s heart as well.

A thousand good wishes to you, and all my love, Danielle

Leave a Comment

If you would like to make a comment, please fill out the form below.

Name (required)

Email (required)


13 Comments so far
  1. Jean December 22, 2014 11:39 am

    Boy! Did this hit home! A year and half ago at the age of 79 I moved where my family lives..with a lot of trepidation…I left behind my home of 50 yrs..all my friends etc. didn’t like my home..didn’t know my family etc. I was a real. mess for awhile..now I have excepted most of it and become a better person (at least I think so)…love your books and look forward to another. You have such great talent and have used for so much good . Merry Christmas and Best wishes for the New year.

  2. Linda Crawford December 22, 2014 11:23 pm

    Dear Danielle,

    Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom. Life sometimes pulls us in directions we may not like, but gratefullness can turn the negative around.

    You inspire many and I’m grateful for you, Danielle. Be blessed this glorious season. May your life be blessed with joy.

    Linda Crawford

  3. Lorraine December 23, 2014 5:22 am

    Dear Danielle,

    Another article from your heart and I so enjoyed it and I was honestly just thinking this the other day how things do change, it’s uncanny at times, when we accept, rather than fight, things we don’t like going on at the moment in our lives, no matter how small or temporary! Thanks for all your wonderful messages of the past year and best wishes for a very good year ahead for you!


  4. IP December 23, 2014 7:55 am

    I had to look up who was this “goody two shoes” you’re talking about and I found out that her story was first published in 1765!!

    Thanks for the good message and happy holidays!

  5. Teresa Cunha December 23, 2014 11:02 am

    Dear Danielle,

    Thanks for sharing this story so appropriated for the holidays! We all suffer from this “disease” of spending too much time complaining about the things we don’t have, the things we have but don’t like, apparently oblivious that we always should be thankful for the things we have (things can always have a turn for the worst)and the only way to get things to be better is to take action regarding it. Home improvements are good metaphors for live: some people are very grateful for the little they have and make all efforts to get things as best as possible, and serenity, happiness and prosperity comes from that. Others, on the other hand, choose to do nothing but complaint about their situation and do absolutely nothing to improve things. Years go by and those people keep complaining about the same things…
    I hope you too have a very merry Christmas full of gratitude and blessings. You’re an inspiration in many ways and the world sure needs more people spreading positive messages.
    God bless you!

  6. Vanessa December 23, 2014 12:25 pm

    Thank you! I so needed to hear that, and read this. What a blessing 🙂

  7. nicole December 23, 2014 7:44 pm

    Wow! This story is amazing and I can totally apply it to the situation I’m in right now. I SO needed this, so thanks for sharing! It’ll help me embrace what I’m going through right now instead of fighting it!!
    Happy holidays to y’all – especially to those who have difficult stuff going on in their life right now. May we all be able to embrace instead of fight..!

  8. Jay Parfan December 23, 2014 11:06 pm

    Hello,Miss Danielle!! A million thanks for sharing a wonderully inspiring piece on what I feel to be about the goodness of being content for one’s blessings in life. As the saying goes, “What goes arauound comes around.” Happy holidays!

  9. Moser December 24, 2014 3:35 pm

    Merci Danielle. Bon noël et heureuse année

    Marie-Anne Moser

  10. Keyla Marques December 26, 2014 8:53 am

    merry christmas, Danielle.
    And a happy new year, full of great things.

  11. Suzanne Gillahan December 26, 2014 5:09 pm

    Dear Danielle,

    My sister & I have read/watch your movies for years. One book we both love but never could find the movie: Crossings. Was it ever made into a movie? If so, Where can we find it. She is reading Pegasus now. When she’s finished, it will be my turn.

    Looking forward to finding Crossings. It was one of our very favorites. Also, looking forward to reading more of your books.

  12. Maryellen N December 30, 2014 9:02 pm

    Dear Danielle, I am finding you now through your Blog on this night before New Year’s Eve 2014. Great story, thank you for sharing! May we embrace every person and every situation as good. Wishing you the best, all God’s blessings in 2015.
    Love, xx
    Maryellen – Dec 30, 2014 11:59pm

  13. Carole Koscielny January 24, 2015 5:31 pm

    MS. Steel, I love your books. I have read most of them and my goal is to read them all. I just found “Lightning” which I found in our condo’s library. I loved it until the end. Many would think it a happy ending; I thought it tragic. It is so prevalent in today’s world to reward the rat and leave the “good guy”. I watched my children and others do it often. Sam was a womanizer and a bad business man. The way he treated Alex was horrible. He should have 20 lashes instead of being rewarded of getting Alex back. I think it is a bad message to send to women who very often are treated terrible by men and then go back to them or let them off the hook. So many people read your books I worry what this is saying to them. You have a great deal of influence in the world, especially women. I love your website and getting to know you better, and hope to eventually read all your books. Have you ever researched and/or written a book on False Memory Syndrome?